PwC offers advice from bots in deal with OpenAI, a ChatGPT firm

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP has teamed up with ChatGPT owner OpenAI to offer clients advice generated by artificial intelligence as the Big Four audit firms look to cut costs and boost productivity.

The accounting firm plans to use AI for complex issues in tax, human resources and legal matters, including carrying out due diligence, identifying compliance problems and even recommending if to approve business deals.

PwC is the first Big Four firm to partner with OpenAI. OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot is considered one of the leading companies in generative AI.

Major audit firms are cutting costs in order to deal with the slowdown of professional services. PwC has frozen pay increases and bonuses of some of its 25,000 UK employees. Deloitte LLP will cut over 800 jobs in the UK. Ernst & Young LLP plans to cut around 5% of staff at its UK Financial Services Consulting division. KPMG LLP plans to cut 125 consultancy jobs.

PwC stated that the OpenAI partnership will not result in job cuts in near future.

Bivek Sharma said that PwC’s new AI system “behaves like a partner with a tenure of 25 years” in a Monday interview.

Sharma said that “the compliance burden is growing globally and the complexity of the C-suite’s work is unprecedented.” Many people say that AI will replace jobs, but in reality, AI is necessary to help navigate these complex situations.

Harvey, a startup AI backed by OpenAI that specializes in professional service, is part of the partnership.

The system is being implemented in the UK where 650 employees will have access to it for testing and training. Over the next few weeks, the firm will expand access to more than 10,000 employees in over 50 countries. PwC stated that employees will be able to complete several large projects in less time and at a higher standard. This partnership also makes large-scale projects possible that would have previously been too expensive or long.

Brad Lightcap said that professional services was “a field we are quite excited about” in an interview with Zoom. He said that these models could be powerful assistants for legal workflows, accounting workflows, and tax workflows.

The Big Four audit companies have increased their investment in AI to increase productivity. KPMG has announced a multibillion-dollar investment into Microsoft cloud services and generative AI, while Ernst & Young LLP launched a recent partnership with IBM in order to streamline HR processes. Deloitte expanded its partnership with Google Cloud in order to develop AI powered solutions for clients. PwC also uses, a chatbot to speed up tasks such as summarizing documents.

Source Global Research CEO Fiona Czerniawska said: “The risk is that professional service firms will focus on AI-embedded software to reduce costs, rather than develop better solutions, as their margins are under pressure in 2021 due to salary inflation.”

PwC did not disclose the value for the deal with OpenAI, Harvey and said that the UK business will spend £100 million ($122million) on AI in 2019.